Han Language, literally, means a language spoken by Han people. Since Han people is the main ethnic group in China, Han language is the major Sinitic language used in China and known well as Chinese language. But, because of some historical and regional reasons, Han language also varies. Therefore, according to distinguishing features of branches, linguists in China divide Han Language (Chinese language) into seven dialects. And in modern time, to make easier communications for people from different areas, Mandarin (Putonghua) becomes the common language in China. Nowadays, China National Office for teaching Chinese as a foreign language is setting Confucius Institutes all over the world to help foreigners learn standard Chinese and know more about Chinese culture.
Han Language (Chinese Language,汉语Hànyǔ or中文Zhōngwén) is an analytic language with tones and belongs to Sino-Tibetan family. According to the statistics of UNESCO, Chinese Language is spoken by 1.6 billion populations and ranged the second widest language in the world. In this article, we will talk about Standard Chinese(Mandarin) and some important dialects in China.
Standard Chinese is one of the six official languages of the United Nations and also the official language of PRC, Taiwan area and Singapore.It has diffeent Chinese names in the world. It is called Putonghua(普通话Pǔtōnghuà) in the People's Republic of China, Guoyu(国语Guóyǔ) in Taiwan,Huayu(华语Huáyǔ) in Malaysia and Singapore. In other parts of the world, these three names are used interchangeably but Putonghua being the most common. However, sometimes, Mandarin is used very often as an english translation for Putonghua.
Standard Chinese (Putonghua,Guoyu,Huayu) is a common language for modern Han nation. It is based on the Beijing dialect's phonology and noethern dialect, and conducts Modern Vernacular Chinese's grammars. It plays an important role in the communications of Chinese people and used not only by speakers using mutually unintelligible varieties of Chinese but also Chinese minorities. Even if not all Chinese people can speak Standard Chinese but spoken Standard Chinese is widely understood to some degree. In order to popularize Putonghua, the China National Language and Character Working Committee was founded in 1985. By far, there are two standardized tests of Standard Chinese aiming at classifying people's proficient degree.
Putonghua Evaluation Exam
1).Putonghua Evaluation Exam
Putonghua Evaluation Exam (普通话水平测试) is an exam for Chinese native speakers. It has quickly become popular because of China's rapid development. Many people are required to have a certificate of Putonghua when they are looking for a job, especially those who want to work in media and education circles.
HSK is abbreviated saying for Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi(汉语水平考试Hànyǔ Shuǐpíng Kǎoshì).It is a standardized test of Standard Chinese language proficiency for non-native speakers, such as foreigners, overseas Chinese and members of domestic ethnic minority groups in China.This test was designed and developed by Beijing Language and Culture University in 1984 and passed the evaluation of experts in February,1990. Aiming to be a certificate of language proficiency for higher educational and professional purposes, this test had been taken around 100 million times. Because the test of HSK approximates ENGLIAH TOEFL,Chinese people also call it CHINESE TOEFL.
Dialects in China(other varieties of Chinese)
1). Northern Mandarin, 官话 Guānhuà or 北方话Běifānghuà in Chinese, used by 70% populations in the mainland of China.It is widely used everywhere in the north and Guizhou, Yunnan, Sichuan in the southwest of China.
2). Cantonese,粤语yuè yǔ or 广东话 guǎng dōng huà in Chinese, used by 5% Han people, is influential in Guangdong Province, Hongkong, Macao andCantonese-speaking overseas communities.
3). Wu dialect: 吴语Wú yǔ in Chinese. Suzhou speech and Shanghai speech are two representative.
4). Min dialect: 闽语 Mǐn yǔ in Chinese, spoken in Fujian and Taiwan.
5). Xiang dialect: 湘方言xiāng fāng yán in Chinese, used mainly in Hunan.
6). Gan dialect:赣方言gàn fāng yán in Chinese, used mainly in Jiangxi.
7). Hakka:客家话 kè jiā huà in Chinese, used in the juncture of Guangdong, Fujian and Jiangxi. The ancestors the Hakkas were Huaxia people.Because of chaos caused by war in Central plain, they migrated from Henan, Anhui and Shandong to today's area. So, some experts believe that Hakka approaches anceint spoken Tang Dynasty's language.